« VorigeDoorgaan »
at the very commencement of the that young Mertoun is to marry narrative. Throughout the whole of it, Brenda or Minna, but no one can tel their interests, characters, actions, and which of them. He himself lives with manners, are opposed to each other in them both like a brother, and scarcely the most skilful manner possible ; and knows whether the dark and lofty yet the interest of this contrast is ne- beauty of Minna, or the lighter charms ver at its height till the last volume of the gentler Brenda, be the dearer to of the Pirate is closed in the reluc- his affections. These simple maids are tant hand of the reader.
equally innocent, and equally ignorant
, Young Mertoun, educated under They both love Mordaunt. Perhaps the roof of a misanthropical and soli- neither of them has ever as yet looked tary father, and holding converse with on him with other eyes than those of none except the plain, open-mannered sisterly love. They are all happy is natives of Zetland, has grown up to the union of simple affection, and be the verge of manhood, not, indeed, ing happy, they seek not to ask why w in happiness, but in simplicity. He they are so. The arrival of Cleveland > is naturally graceful and high-spirit- the pirate, interrupts all the smoothed-circumstances have kept him ig- ness of this course of things. From norant of the world, and alike igno- the moment of his appearance, the rant of the real vices, as of the extera dream of island bliss is dissipated; nal blandishments, of worldly charac- all the tumultuous passions are kindled ters. Cleveland, on the other hand, in male and in female bosoms, at the is graceful and high-spirited too, but sight of one to whom the novelist aphis course of life has left many of its plies those beautiful words of a bronatural traces behind it. He is hot, ther poet fierce, careless, desperate, like one whose trade has been too much in He was a lovely youth, I guess ; blood; but guilt has not seared him The panther in the wilderness to the core, and, with the sins of a Was not so fair as he. pirate ou his head, he still bears in
And when he chose to sport and play, his heart not a little of the real kind
No dolphin ever was so gay ness, as on his brow not a little of
Upon the Tropic sea. the open gallantry of The British Sail From the time when this adventuor, whose character he assumes. rer finds access to the domestic circle
Scorning the limited acquirements of the Udaller Magnus Troil, Morand views, as well as the home-bred daunt Mertoun begins to perceive a innocence of Mertoun's character, remarkable falling off in the attentions Cleveland speaks and acts in a style, he had hitherto been accustomed to which by no means tends to rivet links receive from the kindness of Magnus of affection between him and his pre- Troil and his family. No little messerver. But jealousy comes in to tear sages, no invitations-in short, it was far asunder what gratitude had never evident that something was wrong; been able to blend, and Cleveland and and Mordaunt, knowing that CleveMordaunt Mertoun are enemies from land had become an ininate in the the moment when the former first sets house, could not avoid connecting that foot on the threshold of Magnus circumstance with his own disfavour in Troil, a wealthy Zetlander, under a manner that raised within him many whose hospitable roof Mertoun has been very angry, and, perhaps, revengeful accustomed to spend all his blithest days thoughts. In particular, he is asto-in the company of whose beautiful nished and perplexed by hearing of a daughters, Minna and Brenda, he great annual feast about to be given had from infancy been taught to sooth by the Udaller, to which all the Zetor dismiss those melancholy thoughts, landers, beaux and belles, have been which the nature of his father's resi- summoned
himself alone exceptede dence, his characterand his demeanour, When he is perfectly sure that this is all together, had been, at other times, the case, he steals out to the desert, well calculated to nourish within his and seats himself beside a lonely mere, breast.
on whose bosom the wild-fowl are All the world of Zetland has said screaming, in a state of the most fiera
• Wordsworth's Ruth.
burbed and melancholy feeling-when at this great feast: and he, too, is a
company are summoned to assist in the “What zeal was added to Triptolemus' capture of a whale, that has suffered motions, by the prospect of eating train-sl, itself to be left behind the tide in the instead of butter, we know not; but, as shallow water of a small arm of the better might not be, he brandished the rusea, or voe ; and Mordaunt Mertoun ral implement (a stable-fork) with which and Captain Cleveland are, of course, battle with the whale.
he was armed, and went down to wage among the most active in this singular
“ The situation in which the enemy's u species of diversion.
fate had placed him was particularly fa6. Then you might have seen such a vourable to the enterprize of the islanders. joyous, boisterous, and universal bustle, A tide of unusual height had carried the as only the love of sport, so deeply im- animal over a large bar of sand, into the planted in our natures, can possibly inspire. voe or creek in which he was now lying. A set of country squires, about to beat for So soon as he found the water ebbing, he the first woodcocks of the season, were a became sensible of his danger, and had comparison as petty, in respect to the glee, made deperate efforts to get over the shal. as in regard to the importance of the ob- low water, where the waves broke on the ject; the battue, upon a strong cover in bar; but hitherto he had rather injured than Ettrick-forest, for the destruction of the mended his condition, having got himself foxes ; the insurrection of the sportsmen partly aground, and lying therefore partiof the Lennox, when one of the duke's cularly exposed to the meditated attack. deer gets out from Inch-Mirran ; nay, the At this moment the enemy came down upon joyous rally of the fox-chase itself, with all him. The front ranks consisted of the its blithe accompaniments of hound and young and hardy, armed in the miscellahort, fall infinitely short of the animation neous manner we have described ; while, to with which the gallant sons of Thule set witness and animate their efforts, the young off to encounter the monster, whom the sea women, and the elderly persons of both had sent for their amusement at so oppor- sexes, took their place among the rocks, tune a conjuncture.
which overhung the scene of action. 66 The multifarious stores of Burgh “ As the boats had to double a little Westra were rummaged hastily for all sorts headland, ere they opened the mouth of of arms which could be used on such an the voe, those who came by land to the occasion. Harpoons, swords, pikes, and shores of the inlet had time to make the halberts, fell to the lot of some ; others necessary reconnoissances upon the force contented themslves with hay-forks, spits, and situation of the enemy, on whom they and whatever else could be found, that was were about to commence a simultaneous atat once long and sliarp. Thus hastily equip- tack by land and sea. ped, one division under the command of “ This duty the stout-hearted and exCaptain Cleveland, hastened to man the perienced general would entrust to no eres boats which lay in the little haven, while but his own ; and, indeed, his external apthe rest of the party hurried by land to the pearance, and his sage conduct, rendered scene of action.
him alike qualified for the command which * " Poor Triptolemus was interrupted in he enjoyed. His gold-laced hat was es. a plan, which he, too, had formed against changed for a bear-skin cap, his suit of the patience of the Zetlanders, and which blue broad-cloth, with its scarlet lining, was to have consisted in a lecture upon the and loops and frogs of bullion, had given agriculture, and the capabilities of the coun- place to a red flannel jacket, with buttons try, by this sudden hubbub, which put an of black horn, over which he wore a scalend at once to Halcro's poetry, and to his skin shirt, curiously seamed and plated on no less formidable prose. It may be easily the bosom, such as are used by the Em imagined that he took very little interest quimaux, and sometimes by the Greerin the sport which was so suddenly substi- land whale-fishers. Sea-boots, of a fortuted for his lucubrations, and he would midable size, completed his dress, and in not even have deigned to have looked upon his hand he held a huge whaling-knife, the active scene which was about to take which he brandished, as if impaticnt to em. place, had he not been stimulated thereunto ploy it in the operation of fti aching the by the exhortations of Mrs Baby. "Pit huge animal which lay before then, the yoursell forward, man,' said that provident act of separating, that is, its flesh from its person, pit yoursell forward-wha kens bones. Upon closer examination, however, whare a blessing may light?-they say that he was obliged to confess, that the sport 10 a' men share and share equals-aquals in the which he had conducted his friends, hov. creature's ulzie, and a pint o't wad be worth ever much it corresponded with the magni. siller, to light the cruise in the lang dark ficent scale of his hospitality, was likely to nights that they speak of—-pit yoursell for- be attended with its own peculiar dangers ward, man-there's a graip to ye--faint heart and difficulties. never wan fair lady_whakens but when it's * The animal, upwards of sixty fæt in fresh, it may eat weel cnough, and spare Tergth, was lying perfectly still, in a deep butter?'
part of the voe into which it had welteret,
and where it seemed to awałt the return of his hand stretched out, to offer his warmtide, of which it was probably assured by est thanks to his preserver. But he stopped instinct. A council of experienced harpoon- short in surprise, as Cleveland, retreating a ers was instantly called, and it was agreed pace or two, folded his arms on his breast, that an effort should be made to noose the and declined to accept his proffered hand. tail of this torpid leviathan, by casting a He drew back in turn, and gazed with cable around it, to be made fast by anchors astonishment at the ungracious manner, to the shore, and thus to secure against his and almost insulting look, with which Escape, in case the tide should make before Cleveland, who had formerly rather exthey were able to dispatch him.. Three pressed a frank cordiality, or at least, openboats were destined to this delicate piece of ness of bearing, now, after ha thus service, one of which the Udaller himself rendered him a most important service, proposed to command, while Cleveland and chose to receive his thanks. Mertoun were to direct the two others. This “It is enough,' said Cleveland, obserbeing decided, they sat down on the strand, ving his surprise, and it is unnecessary waiting with impatience, until the naval to say more about it. I have paid back my part of the force should arrive in the voe. debt, and we are now equal' It was during this interval, that Triptole 6* You are more than equal with me, mus Yellowley, after measuring with his Mr Cleveland,' answered Mertoun, “beeyes the extraordinary size of the whale, cause you endangered your life to do for observed, that, in his poor mind, 'A wain me what I did for you without the slightwith six owsen, or with sixty owsen either, est risk ;-besides,' he added, trying to if they were the owsen of the country, give the discourse a more pleasant turn, could not drag siccan a huge creature from I have your rifle gun to boot.' the water, where it was now lying, to the " • Cowards only count danger for any sea-beach.””
point of the game,' said Cleveland. Dan
ger has been my consort for life, and sailThe result is that the monstrous ed with me on a thousand worse voyages ;animal escapes in spite of all the ef- and for rifles, I have enough of my own, forts of experienced and inexperienced and you may see, when you will, which can harpooners. The tide is making, and
use them best.' he at last “ floats many a rood,” over
“ There was something in the tone wich
which this was said, that struck Mordaunt turning, in one of his struggles, the boat in which young Mertoun has his strongly; it was miching malicho, as Hamplace. The rest get ashore easily, but
let says, and meant mischief. Cleveland Mertoun is stunned, and would have and spoke in a low tone of voice:- Hark
saw his surprise, came close up to him, been lost—but for Cleveland, who re
ye, my young brother. There is a custom joices in having an opportunity of amongst us gentlemen of fortune, that when paying back in the same coin the obli we follow the same chase, and take the gation under which the youth had laid wind out of each other's sails, we think him on their first meeting. Minna sixty yards of the sea-beach, and a brace Troil grows pale as death when she of rifles, are no bad way of making our perceives the peril of Mertoun ; but odds even.' Brenda shrieks aloud ; and it is easy to
56. I do not understand you, Captain be seen that old affection, in spite of
Cleveland,' said Mordaunt.
“I do not suppose you do,--I did not appearances, has not been quite banished from their bosoms. However, turning on his heel, with a smile that re
suppose you would, said the Captain ; and all retreat hastily ; and there is none
sembled a sneer, Mordaunt saw him mingle close to the youth when he recovers full with the guests, and very soon beheld him e possession of himself except old Claud at the side of Minna, who was talking to Halcro.
him with animated features, that seemed to
thank him for his gallant and generous “About ten paces off stood Cleveland conduct. his hair and clothes dropping water, and 66 "If it were not for Brenda,' thought his features wearing so peculiar an expres- Mordaunt, “ I almost wish he had left me sion, as immediately to arrest the attention in the voe, for no one seems to care wheof Mordaunt. There was a suppressed ther I am alive or dead.—Two rifles and smile on his check, and a look of pride in sixty yards of sea-beach—is that what lie his eye, that implied liberation from a pain points at P-it may come, but not on the ful restraint, and something resembling day he has saved iny life with risk of his gratified scorn. Claud Halcro hastened to intimate to Mordaunt, that he owed his life “ While he was thus musing, Eric Seam. to Cleveland; and the youth, rising from bester was whispering to Halcro, “If these the ground, and losing all other feelings in two lads do not do each other a mischief, those of gratiinde, stepped forwarıl, with there is no faith in frcits. Master Mordaunt
saves Cleveland, well-Cleveland, in re- this: Her real name is Ulla Troil, quital, has turned all the sunshine of Burgh- and she is of the same family with the Westra to his own side of the house ; and young ladies to whom she tells her think what it is to lose favour in such a house as this, where the punch kettle is ced by a wanderer of appearance as
story. In early youth she was sedunever allowed to cool! Well, now that Cleveland in his turn has been such a fool fascinating as Cleveland, and of the as to fish Mordaunt out of the voe, see if
same profession, and brought forth a he does not give him sour sillocks for son, whose birth gave her parents the stock-fish.'
utmost affliction. She was deserted by “• Pshaw, pshaw! replied the poet, her lover shortly after, and had alrea* that is all old women's fancies, my friend dy sunk into a state of incipient inseEric; for what says glorious Dryden— nity, when a terrible incident comsainted John,
pleted the havoc of her brain. In The yellow gall, that in your bosom floats, passing by the door of her father's Engenders all those melancholy thoughts.'
chamber one night, after he had gone
to bed, she observed that it was not “ Saint John, or Saint James either, fastened, and she shut it. He was may be mistaken in the matter,' said Eric; found dead in his bed next moro• for I think neither of them lived in Zet- ing; and, as it was evident that he land. I only say, that if there is faith in had been suffocated hy noxious raold saws, these two lads will do each other a mischief.'
pours, from the coals in the fire,
which, had the door remained opet, The passages we have just quoted could not have proved fatal—the poor occur about the middle of the second girl conceived herself to have incund volume, where so many scenes of great the guilt of parricide by an act, which interest are crowded close upon each was, in fact, one of dutifulness, SL other, that we are much perplexed in conceived that this had been a fearful selecting any one passage as more wor- sacrifice necessary to her initiation irte thy of quotation than another. The the mysteries of Scandinavian sorcers, scene during the night after the first and regarded herself, from that moday of Troil's three-day festival, ment, as an outcast from the christiar. when Brenda and Mordaunt meet by church, and the involuntary slave and the sea-shore, and the youth finds priestess of the old fiendish deities of means, not only to vindicate himself the North.—(By the way, we happes in the maiden's good opinion, but to to know that this story has its fourlearn from her that she observes with dation in one not only true but recent. pain the progress which the unknown the unbappy heroine of which was adventurer Cleveland has made in the actually known to many persons ube affections of her elder sister, is one of are still living in Shetland and Orkney. peculiar felicity. Another night-scene, — But the most charming scenes of 11 of the utmost power and splendour, are those which depict the sectt? represents Norna of the Fitful-Head, workings of the minds of Minna and as finding her way into the bed- Brenda, whose fullness of sisterly conchamber of the two sisters-partly fidence (although not their sisterly affor the purpose of warning Minna of fection,) has been shaken in consel the danger of listening to Cleveland's quence of the secret attachments that addresses, and partly of relieving her have gradually attained such strength own misery of madness, by narrating in either bosom, as neither can exert the fearful story of domestic sorrows
courage enough to reveal to the other. out of which her madness has sprung. The sadness inspired into their indoThe reader, when he first meets with cent breasts by the sense of something Norna may be in some danger of mis- like estrangement, gives rise to a varietaking her for a mere repetition of ty of the most pathetic incidents ar! Meg Merrilies ; but here he will see dialogues. But we cannot quote al. with what art these two characters are the book. We shall, however, extract not only discriminated, but, if we may one scene, because it tells more strongso speak, contrasted. Meg Merrilies, ly than any other single one upon the interesting as she is, is, after all, a fable of the romance. lesser personage than Norna. The
“That night, the mutual sorrow of Vir fypsey wants the grandeur of the na and Brenda, if it could not wholly iso Rheimkennar, for she wants her mi move the reserve which had estranged de sery. The story of Norna is briefly sisters from each other, at least melted ai!